I’ve final­ly fin­ished Acceleran­do, Charles Stross’s nov­el. For those that want a look, it’s avail­able via a Cre­ative Com­mons license—just click on the link.

It’s the sto­ry of four gen­er­a­tions of the Macx fam­i­ly (I think; things get a lit­tle tan­gled, what with the clones and the eigen­fam­i­lies and the ghosts and what­not) and their var­ied adven­tures, on Earth, in the out­er sys­tem, and flit­ting ‘twixt the stars, on either side of the Tech­no­log­i­cal Sin­gu­lar­i­ty. I enjoyed it. It was a fast-paced sto­ry, full of breath­less momen­tum and nudge-nudge wink-wink ref­er­ences for the übergeeks that are most cer­tain­ly the book’s tar­get audi­ence. (I think I fall at the mid­dle of this par­tic­u­lar geek spec­trum, some­where in the range of vis­i­ble light in the elec­tro­mag­net­ic ana­log. I get most of the jokes, and I con­tributed to the wiki for the book. (A low-end geek would know about the wiki; a high-end geek would have cre­at­ed the wiki.))

What’s it about? Well, it’s about 150,000 words. Beyond that, words fail, but I’ll try. It’s about Man­fred Macx, his IRS audi­tor-cum-fiancée-cum-dom­i­na­trix-cum-wife-ex Pamela, the music mafiya, the con­tin­u­ous­ly upgrad­ed robot cat Aineko, a time-shar­ing semi-par­a­sitic bor­gan­ism, slav­ery in Jupiter orbit, the Vile Off­spring, lob­sters hack­ing the Uni­verse, the next gen­er­a­tion of eco­nom­ics (and the one after that), and a raft of oth­er ideas. It’s a com­plex tapes­try* of ideas, in fact, a dizzy slide of ideas and con­cepts that threat­ens to over­whelm any thread of sto­ry, but nev­er quite does.

I enjoyed it. I plan to hunt down Stross’s pre­vi­ous nov­el, Sin­gu­lar­i­ty Sky, and see what it’s like. Some­day, too, I’ll re-read Acceleran­do, pos­si­bly on my PDA, more like­ly in tree­ware form, so that I can see all the lit­tle things I missed on my first time through.

Cur­rent­ly read­ing: The Last Light of the Sun, by Guy Gavriel Kay. It’s set about 1,000 years ago, in a North­ern Europe only thin­ly dis­guised by slight­ly dif­fer­ent names for peo­ples and places (Erlings for Vikings/Norsemen, Anglcyn for the Eng­lish, Cyn­gael for the Welsh, for instance). So far it’s inter­est­ing; I’m about a third of the way in, and it’s hold­ing my inter­est well. There are pre­cious few “fan­ta­sy” moments so far, just an encounter with a fairy and a pre­mo­ni­tion of psy­chic pow­ers in one char­ac­ter. Oth­er­wise it’s a pret­ty straight-ahead view of what life must’ve been like in 1000AD in the north of Europe. Gabrielle, if you’re read­ing this, you might like this one.

I’m itch­ing to re-read The Dark Tow­er, espe­cial­ly the last few pages, where… well… where fif­teen years of read­ing cul­mi­nat­ed for me in a scene that brought me near to tears. Even just think­ing about it, I’m get­tin’ misty. (Well, not real­ly. But it’s still a big emo­tion­al moment.)

Any­ways. That’s enough for now. More sid­ing updates in the days ahead, I predict.

À bien­tôt!


* “The word ‘tapes­try’ as used here means ‘An ugly piece of cloth too thin to be used as a blan­ket and too large to be used as a hand­ker­chief’.” —Lemo­ny Snicket

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